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imperialism & war

Peace Movement Needs Balls

Hippies have never stopped a war, if you want to emulate some old babyboomers think Weather Underground.
As sad and horrible as it is I do actualy agree with the trolls on one thing, whats with the re-create the 60's idea in the peace movement??? Does anyone seriously think that the hippies stopped the Vietnam war?? The Viet Cong Stopped the dammn war! Even if you think the 60's protest did stop it, it took them ten years and that's not acceptable. The entire mentality of the babyboomer generation is infantile and ineffective. The babyboomers as a generation have done more harm then any generation in the history of the world, and we're supposed to base our movement on them? This isn't the 60's and the conditions and atmosphere of those times cannot be recreated, we shouldn't try.
I also don't understand the movements deep concern with not offending anyone on the face of the earth. People who apologize for blocked traffic or a broken window are pathetic. There's a frickin war on! We should be fully prepared to offend the backwards, redneck, reactionaires, in as profound a way possible. Personaly I think reactionary elements should be totaly crushed, but if we can't handle that, at least be willing to offend someone! People complain about the amount money the police spent on the protest, and then try to blame us for the state budget! We should have made the police come out every single night at a million dollars a night until their entire fricken infastructre collapsed, but noooooo! that might offend some war criminal vetran or southern baptist preacher. We will never ever win over the cozy middle class or right wingers, unless it's in some really superfical way, we shouldn't try.
I find it very, very sad that most right wing reactionaires in this country have more balls and take more prinipled stands then we do. Most leftist seem to have really vauge ideals and principles and try to unite people on a mile wide, inch deep kind of philosophy. Since the fall of the Soviet Union it has become taboo for a leftist to have concret, controversial opinions. We get things like, "Freedom for Palestine, and Israel" what the hell does that mean? We all know that Irael is a fascist aparthied state that carries out genocide as a normal state policy and yet we don't want to offend the Jewish community. I know many Jews who hate Zionism and don't reconize Irael's right to exsist. The Israel scenario is just an example, I could point out many more along the same line. We need to shape up folks, lovebeads, blowing bubbles ,and eating cream pie ain't gonna stop the imperialist, principled, disciplined stuggle will.
They need more than balls.... 20.Apr.2003 22:47

Flower child

The "Peace" "Movement" needs more than just balls. They need a war! And with the war over....the peaceniks will fade away back into the woodwork.

Thanks god. Seriously.

whoa 20.Apr.2003 22:49

careful there

I agree that the peace movement in the 60's is inadaquate for the situation today, but just a few things...

"There's a frickin war on! We should be fully prepared to offend the backwards, redneck, reactionaires, in as profound a way possible."

Considering our extremely peaceful protests of 10,000+ people seemed to offend them, I agree with you here, except the "in as profound a way possible" if that means violence against people.


" I find it very, very sad that most right wing reactionaires in this country have more balls and take more prinipled stands then we do"

I just hope by "more balls" you aren't refering to the sometimes violent anti-abortion people or racists.


If it is possible to create a "mile wide" diverse group of people who are against imperialist wars, I think that is at least a starting point where, from there, we might be able to strengthen the group's philosophy to something more than a few inches deep. IMHO, only after we have tried everything to increase the number of people "on our side" (which I don't think we have) should we resort to destructive methods of resistance.

pax.

Oppose American Imperialism not just war. 20.Apr.2003 23:00

To Hell with AmeriKKKa

The problem with the antiwar movement is that its dominated by the Mainstream. And the mainstream peace groups are only limited single issue organizations which only react to the issue of war, rather than addressing the underlying reasons that cause war in the first place: namely, the American Empire and its Imperialist desire to dominate and control the world.

The antiwar movement needs to move from this kind of single issue, reactive politics to a proactive political movement which seeks to attack and destroy the American Imperialist Empire itself, regardless of whether it is currently engaged in war or not at the moment.

A question for the original post 21.Apr.2003 00:38

mom

Clearly I am of the "evil baby boomer generation" or I wouldn't be asking, but since I have spent my life working for justice through community organizing etc. I am curious how my evil generation can be categorized all together as doing the most damage of any generation...
Sincerely, I am just wanting you to explain that to me so I can understand your comments better...
I get frustrated with my generation too, but I don't feel that I can lump everyone together in my "generation" any more than in yours... so please give me your perspective...
honest dialogue appreciated...
thanks for your response...

peace movement 21.Apr.2003 01:43

heimdallr

It should be pointed out that the Weather Underground wasn't particularly effective, either. Just because an action is more drastic doesn't necessarily make it more effective (hear that, Bush?).

I see a lot of the kids out sporting the slogan "Fight War, Not Wars." (Punk is dead, by the way; just kidding) I think there's more wisdom in that slogan than there may at first appear. The problem with the current situation, like that of the Vietnam era, is that the protests that do happen tend to be reactions against individual acts of questionable military adventurism rather than a critique of the role military adventurism plays in the political culture of the country in which 'we' happen to live. As long as the only issues being debated are "withdraw from Vietnam/don't withdraw from Vietnam", "invade Iraq/don't invade Iraq", or "Invade Syria/don't invade Syria" 'the Peace Movement' will lack coherence. What's needed is a sustained effort to identify and counter the forces--cultural, political, economic--that are producing the actions to which 'we' are opposed, and present an alternative to a system built upon and guided by those forces.

Drunk. Going to stop writing.

op-ed/discussion fodder 21.Apr.2003 02:39

dave

The problem with the peace movement is that, from the beginning, we've been acting like victims. Marching in the streets and waving a sign can make a positive difference in some cases, and can allow like minds to associate, but in general, it's a way for someone in a losing position to blow off steam. Same goes for vandalism (which even more rarely makes a positive difference). Neither is a direct method of effecting positive change, and neither is an approach that a person (or group) in a position of strength would use. Conversely, using those approaches labels us as having no strength...and in general, those on the fence don't like associating with losers.

Bush starts a war, slaughters the "enemy", hawks wave flags, "we won, we won!". They feel proud, they feel like winners. Of course, that doesn't stand up to scrutiny. A winner doesn't feel good about going out and killing, especially a smaller and non-threatening "foe", and especially without significant justification. A winner leader doesn't mislead the public to get support for such a war. Winners don't close their eyes to the damage done in their name.

An real cynic might suggest that both the liberals and conservatives are getting what they want out of this--a war providing cheap gas without guilt or loss of pride; the liberals by putting up ineffectual resistance to the war, and the conservatives by making up phony justifications for the war. That's short-sighted, however: In the long run, a peaceful and interconnected world with well-informed citizens could more efficiently manage resources for everyone.

If they're really serious, peacers must stop acting like victims. I personally think that extra-governmental approaches will never find large numbers of adherents. For those who want to work within the government, the "founding fathers" put some stuff in there for us and we're not even trying to use it to our advantage. For example:

1. We (theoretically) have representation in one branch of government. Lately, congress has been doing the president's bidding, but they're not the president's representatives, they're OURS. The whole idea is to provide a "check and balance" system for the executive branch. Let them know that. Let them know that when they turn war powers over to the president, when they implement laws that rob us of our rights because the president says so, they're VICTIMIZING US, when they are supposed to be REPRESENTING US.

2. Fly the flag. Not an inverted flag. Not a corporate logo flag. Not a burning flag. A real US flag. The founders of this country wanted that flag to stand for a set of principles, ones which allow us to dissent, to disagree with the president or majority, to voice our opinions and try to change the opinions of others. Flying a flag of principle does not detract from one being a citizen of earth. If we are to stop being victims, we must stop allowing the warmongers to relabel that symbol as having some hawkish, right-wing, separatist connotation, and the easiest way to do that is to have liberal doves fly it, too. I'm guessing that some hawks could become confused, or downright angry, to see protestors flying the flag. If so, let'em demonstrate how hypocritical they are by trying to get Americans to stop flying the flag. Protest is patriotic.

3. Keep our focus. Our focus is not the cops. Our focus is not Vera. Our focus is not the press. Our focus is not capitalism or "the machine". (Many of those are symptoms rather than the disease.) Just because they aren't our focus doesn't mean that they won't be distracting or interfering, or that we should just ignore their mistreatments, but it's a separate issue. I think our focus should be promoting peace, preserving the bill of rights, doing the best possible in Iraq from here on out, preventing further military incursions...and getting Bush out of office.

4. Debate the Bush supporters. Instead of clever (but often worn) slogans or epithets, educate, reason, and provide supporting data. It can even be sorta fun.

Bush has extended the legacy of war in this world. It's our job to somehow get the world back on track.

The Peace game and how to Win it. 21.Apr.2003 03:42

Watchman

Lots of good food for thought here...shows that people of all stripes are still reading IndyMedia, good, good.

The comments so far seem to devolve into analyses of why the movement failed to stop the war, but there are few suggestions that involve game theory, so I write my piece.

Game theory says that in any game, and the Bushies ARE gamesters, some of the best, the rules are announced in advance and then the game is played. If rule infractions occur, there is either a mechanism for dealing with that, or one is developed, or the game ends in chaos.

Bushies play by the rules that they set. Their rules are easy to learn: they are all based on power politics. Bushies have the Presidency, the Supreme court and both houses of Congress in their pockets. Most pundits of this process predicted that the Bushies would make their first big move by hammering on their views of social mores, i.e. abortion, school prayer, etc. They were taken by suprise that the Bushies' first big initiative was international and involved war.

What we have to realize, and the signs were there all along for us to see had we not been so blind, is that the full-scale commercialization of the world is in progress. The European Union had a jump on us, but under Bush, we are starting to catch up. What commercialization does is remove all the humanist elements from government. The entire government exists to allow people, chosen people, to make money by means of government functions. Under this form of government, all the rules will be re-written for profit motive, and all other motives of government will become obsolete. War is essential in this system, because it does two things: first it allows a mobile modern army to take in months what couldn't be done in decades by other means, and it intimidates the opposition.

The future of this game is not clear yet. It has two separate outcomes possible. The first is that the Bushies win, and extend US commercial hegemony deeper into the outside world. The second is that the European Union decides to play the game seriously, becomes an evenly-matched opponent, and eventually beats the US both commercially and militarily, and we become the commercial colony of Europe (more than we are already).

So you, the reader, wants to get involved? Well, then, join the game! You can't play by your own rules, as all late players into any game have to accept the rules that the game is already being played by. This means that Black Bloc tactics aren't part of the game, can't win the game, and will eventually just be isolated as common crimes and not political machinery.

How you join the game is by taking over the player's seat of an established player. That is the seat of the Democratic Party, which has always had a seat at this game, but passes every time it gets a turn to play. We have to take back the Democratic Party and make it into a powerful, humanist-based player. We then have to dismantle the Bushie system from the inside, power bloc by power bloc. If we accomplish this, we inherit the commercial hegemony that the Bushies established while they were in control. That is the danger point for the humanist players. At that time, they have to decide whether they are going to simply modify the commercial empire to suit themselves, or dump it in favor of pure humanism and enter conflict with the Europeans (and/or the Chinese, who might have built themselves up into a major commercial player by that time).

We can natter on forever in about tactics in this forum, or we can connect with the rules of the game, organize and begin to play. Move #1: take some people, attend your local Democratic Precinct Committee monthly meeting, or call for one if there is none scheduled. Take over that Committee by sheer numbers. Repeat process until the humanist-based peace people are in control of the Democratic Party throughout the City. Move #2: Run a decent candidate and boot out the Kitsch-Katz and her followers. Declare Portland a Humanist city, and repeat nationally. See the pattern here?

This game can be won, but it has to start small,locally, and legally. Demonstrations are fine, but should be aimed at our Democratic politicians from this point on.

The Watchman, just defined the game, again.

Capitalism is the cause, not a sympton 21.Apr.2003 08:00

gerry

I disagree when Dave says capitalism is another symptom, and that we have to keep our eyes on the bigger picture. Global capitalism is the root cause of the world's misery. It's a system where costs, both social and environmental, are externalized on those who can least afford them. It's created massive economic divisions and dysfunctions, and its morphing into the technopoly that's emerged since its inception and is facilitating ever greater horrors. It's served to divide us from the natural world we need to sustain us, each other, and ourselves.

I understand the desire to change people's consciousness. We need to see the interconnections of all living things. But with the global capitalist system continually dominating our lives, and its symptoms (U.S. imperialism, fascism both globally and here in Portland, etc.), it will be almost impossible to raise consciousness in any mass way. What we need is bring down the system. Global capitalism is irredeemable.

What do you suggest? 21.Apr.2003 08:34

Anonymous

What do you suggest as a replacement for Capitalism? And please tell me how it will work.

Capitalism works because self interest is at it's core, and at ours. Unbridled capitalism creates problems, and if not tempered will lead to disaster because eventually there will be only one winner and a whole world of losers.

Does communism work? I can't find a successful example.

I've never heard a practical explanation of how anarchy can work.

I can't see any system better than capitalism as the driving force, with humanism as it's control. We've lost some of that control lately, and we need to get it back.

It's like this... 21.Apr.2003 09:16

gerry

I was explaining to my mother once how capitalism was leading us to mass extinction, or at best a dystopian, fascistic future following unprecedented mass genocide. Her respone was "but it's still the best system we have."

My point to her was that capitalism cannot, by definition, be the "best" system, or even a viable one. So it's not even a question of what "system" replaces "it," it's a question of how we re-orient ourselves so that resources are shared more equitably and sustainably and that the self-governing systems we devise reflect the needs of flesh and blood human beings. And when I say "governing systems" I mean on every level. I think free movement of human beings is essential, by the way. We need to think in terms of regions, rather than nation states (whose borders are often arbitrary). Changing systems is not like changing a light bulb. It's a process whereby we move from the suicidal path we're on to a more humane place. Call the way we re-organize ourselves whatever you will.

As for the other "systems" you've named, I wouldn't be so dismissive of socialism. For every Soviet Union (which was certainly not "communist" in the sense Marx spoke of), there is a Sweden. We're not talking about pure theory anyway. In practice, I think our reorganized world must be based on some socialistic principles if resources are to be distributed and used in some sort of equitable and sustainable fashion(yes, I know the old Eastern bloc countries were environmental nightmares, but that's not the kind of "socialism" I'm referring to). Just my opinion. The fact is that when we move past global capitalism (and we will, whether it be at gunpoint or by a people's revolution of some type), we'll be moving into uncharted territory no matter.

As for anarchism, and at the risk of incurring the wrath of tons of Indymedia readers, I personally agree that it's not a viable alternative at this point in history. If we were still nomadic, at about 1/50th of our current population level, and not a technopoly, then it might be more of an option.

Driving force of anarchy 21.Apr.2003 09:34

yElp

One of the main driving parts of anarchism is the fact that people like to be comfortable. This is in use with the capitalist system to. People work so that they can get things and in getting things they become more and more comfortable with there living environment. Anarchy will merely take out some of the middle/annoying ground in this. If i work and make, say... a shoe and my friend across the street has some string beans that he doesnt want to eat. He takes my shoe and i take his beans. Im happier and more comfortable in my environment and hes more comfortable in his. This is instead of the capitalist system where i make a shoe and then charge him all his string beans and his clothes for it. Making myself more comfortable and his less.

One of the most common symbols of anarchism would be the circle A. One of the ideas that came from that or that the circle A was originated from was that "Anarchy is Order". Proofs that anarchy is order.

When i go out and do what i love and put a large part of my energy into it, i will get a greater return on what im doing. Compared with a hierarchy or at least any other indivdual telling you what to do or giving you instructions about how to do something that you totally dont feel like doing, you will get less and less return. Especially in a capitalist economy where the goods you produce will never see your table. When workers take the means of productions and the work they do has a direct influence on there life, we will see happier and happier people. Driving influence of capitalism? Profit. Your making money off of someone else by any means nessacary. No matter who it harms or what it harms. Socialism - Workers make what they need for the greater good. The idea of property is abolished as it is known now. People make what they need to live and make what they need to be comfortable.

3 main parts in every anarchists politics.

1. Against these three things or as i like to call it, HOC. Hierarchy, Oppression, and Capitalism. Now socialism, or the taking of production from the capitalist and putting it in the hands of the workers, is taking care of the capitalism aspect of what anarchists believe in. But socialism stops there. It doesnt deal with state fascism or state anything or oppression in general. So thats why anarchists take there thinking a step farther into what i believe and most folks belive is what is stopping people from living a life they believe is great.

Oppression and hierarchy, are two systems of destruction which keep people from really living there lives. Oppression stops a person from having equality or fair treatment the day that their born. Its the manifestion of cruelty and tryanny which any living breathing human being understands is wrong.

Hierarchy is the way that another person takes control of your life. In my thinking i believe that i will be able to live my life better then any other person on the Earth. And that is automatically true because we have never experianced another persons life first hand. So why do people try and try again to control other people, making parts of there life really ineffective at doing anything? Power, domination, hatred, etc.

The list of things anarchist like. Equality, liberty, freedom, education, etc.

To sum up.
1. We make decisions because were human. Living is making mistakes and learning from them. When we cant choose what we do and when we want to do it we continue to make mistakes and not be able learn from them. When someone controls what we do and gives us a direction, they for one will never learn why its less effective or why its a mistake. We will but that wont matter because were no longer making decisions for ourselfs. Capitalism makes this possible, hierarchy or control of other people makes this possible, oppressing another person makes this possible. Anarchists hate these things because they make there life impossible to live.

So what does this look like? 21.Apr.2003 09:50

yElp

So your question was what does this look like?

Well...thats a good question.

Because people differ so much from person to person i belive that if we ever accomplish any forms of anarchism that it will differ as much as people do. The anarcho syndics get togethor, form there trade unions and make cheese for everyone. or the eco anarchists live on there own in idaho somewhere and live off moss and rocks soup. Or the regular every day folk who work there garden and then go to work. Yes work. They understand there quotas that they set for themselves at the beginning of the week. They understand they have to produce this many reports on whatever there topic of interest is. They work until they feel like they want to stop. Go to the tofu joint down the street, ask the man at the counter for the number 3 and get served. No paying.

Differing kinds of anarchists.

1. The greater good or social anarchists.

2. The primitive or eco anarchists.


1. Social anarchists are the anarcho syndics and the such. They go to work and produce stuff for themselves, families, communities, towns, cities, and for the greater good in general. Why do they produce everyday? Because they like to be happy and they like to see people happy. They make pants because they want people to be warm, their neighbor makes shoes because they want feet to be warm, the cheese syndicit makes cheese to see people be fed. Everyone uses everyone else resources to be happy.

2. Primitive anarchists. I dont really put as much time into this type of anarchy because i dont see it as a large scale form of anarchy that we can use effectivly but if people want to try it for themselves or there communitys go for it. Primitive anarchists or eco anarchists usually are more based on really small tight communities that work off each other to everyones benefit. They grow food within there community and teach one another the different processes of life. Its more of rural forms of anarchy then social which is city/town forms of anarchy.





So thats enough for now. If people are really concerned with another system of life then provided here just type anarchism in any search engine. Stay away from anarcho capitalists though. I really dislike them. It makes no sense! Argg!

Anyways peace.
y E l p

GREAT dialogue 21.Apr.2003 11:20

Observer

I appreciate the honest efforts on all sides here to hash this out. (Except for the one ignorant troll post, but we're used to that asshole.) Yes, the peace movement needs some work. A lot of work.

What it doesn't need, however, is "balls." More testosterone is exactly what we do NOT need. "Balls" apparently cause people to want to order others around, dominate conversation, control everyone, and fuck shit up. We've really had enough of that. It doesn't work.

Additionally, this "us and them" thing in the original post is not really productive. Characterizing "baby boomers" or "hippies" with a sweeping stereotype borders on ageism. I, too, am really sick of people trying to re-create The Sixties. Gag. But I'm also sick of people trying to assert that late teens/early twenty-somethings are doing anything better, more significant, more important than those who came before them. Not so much that, but the idea that older people don't know what they're talking about and aren't radical enough. Bullshit. This kind of self-serving pap is useless. You will never find a more radical group of people than old women. Don't believe it? Look around.

So what does the peace movement need? I agree with many of the comments above. We need to recognize the root causes of this war and every war. Greed, consumption, imperialism. In other words, capitalism. Capitalism breeds every form of evil. A very few people stand to make some enormous short-term gains at the expense of all the rest of us from this latest war. They, and their diseased system, must be stopped.

We need to stand together in this struggle. And yes, we need to do more than wave signs in the streets. We need to tear this system down, all the way down to its roots. We need to build a better community. We're beginning to do these things. That's why the velvet glove is slipping off the iron fist; they recognize that we are strong. The police violence is part of the system, and will only grow more outrageous as the system crumbles. But we are stronger than they are.

What can we do? Stop buying things. STOP supporting the capitalist system. Make things, dumpster things, recycle things, grow things. STOP buying things.

That's the best thing you can do.

Work together. If people want to march in the streets, support them. Even if you don't think it's all that effective, support them. You don't have to march or hold a sign, but give what support you can. Because we need many tactics. If people want to break windows, support them. Even if you don't think it's the most effective thing to do. You don't have to engage in it, but don't try to stop them, don't help the system chastise them. Again, we need many tactics. Be creative. There are many, many ways to tear this system down. Try them all.

But first, stop buying things. Live sustainably. That is the first step.

Alternative to Capitalism 21.Apr.2003 11:45

supporter

Most rational people who are confronted with the pitfalls of capitalism agree that there are inherent defects to an economic system based on one of the worst qualities of humans -- namely greed. They naturally respond by voicing their concerns, but finally they capitulate to capitalism by saying (as Margaret Thatcher announced) "there is no alternative."

Very few would argue that the economic societies of the Soviet Union or China are better than our status quo here, though there are elements of those two societies which could be retained.

To my knowledge the best alternative to capitalism which has been written and discussed about in great detail is the system proposed by Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel called "participatory economics" or parecon. This system seeks to construct a policy of economics around the principles of equity, solidarity, diversity, and self-management. It seeks to implement decentralized community-based consumer and production councils that make decisions regarding consumption, production, and allocation. Within a workplace, there would be "balanced job complexes" in which duties are shared so each person has an equal share in decision-making and repetitive tasks. Remuneration is based on effort and sacrifice, not on property ownership, luck, or inherent physical and mental abilities.

There is very detailed information about parecon at the
 http://www.parecon.org/ as well as several books including the most recent book written by Michael Albert called ParEcon: Life after Capitalism.

Check it out if you are curious about economic alternatives.

Patriotism is Not Peace 21.Apr.2003 17:46

x

>>2. Fly the flag. Not an inverted flag. Not a corporate logo flag. Not a burning flag. A real US flag. The founders of this country wanted that flag to stand for a set of principles, ones which allow us to dissent, to disagree with the president or majority, to voice our opinions and try to change the opinions of others. Flying a flag of principle does not detract from one being a citizen of earth. If we are to stop being victims, we must stop allowing the warmongers to relabel that symbol as having some hawkish, right-wing, separatist connotation, and the easiest way to do that is to have liberal doves fly it, too. I'm guessing that some hawks could become confused, or downright angry, to see protestors flying the flag. If so, let'em demonstrate how hypocritical they are by trying to get Americans to stop flying the flag. Protest is patriotic.
>>>

What lame bullshit. You sound like one of those Democratic Party front groups masquerading as Peace Organizations such as MoveOn or Win Without War.

You are more interested in asserting your American Nationalist credentials than in actually protesting against the war. Why not just forget about protesting altogether and wave your damn flag? For you "Peace is Patriotic" con-artists, protesting is a popularity contest. You think if you wave the flag enough, you will become more popular. Whether this actually stops any war or not is irrevelent to you people.

American Nationalism (or Patriotism as you euphemistically call it) can never be the basis for peace. American nationalist ideology (and its symbols like the Flag) have always served to bind people to the US Empire and support bloodthirsty aggressions against the world. The idea that you can "reclaim" the American flag has as much credibility as trying to "reclaim" the Nazi Swastika.

>>3. Keep our focus. Our focus is not the cops. Our focus is not Vera. Our focus is not the press. Our focus is not capitalism or "the machine". (Many of those are symptoms rather than the disease.) Just because they aren't our focus doesn't mean that they won't be distracting or interfering, or that we should just ignore their mistreatments, but it's a separate issue. I think our focus should be promoting peace, preserving the bill of rights, doing the best possible in Iraq from here on out, preventing further military incursions...and getting Bush out of office.
>>

Yeah, avoid talking about the underlying geopolitical or economic issues which are driving America's war crusade and just focus on "getting Bush out of office." If we can just get Bush out of office, and put in a (cough, cough) "progressive" Democrat like Joseph Lieberman, John Edwards, or Richard Gephardt (all of whom supported the War), things will be O-KAY. Bullshit.

The bottom is this: Let the Librals like "Dave" and other posters do their Flag-waving, vote for the Democrats thing, and let the Radicals do theirs.

Let's see who is more effective in terms of mobilizing and organizing against the War. I'll bet on the latter everytime.
Patriotism is Not Peace
Patriotism is Not Peace

Thanks 21.Apr.2003 20:53

anonymous

Since some people here responded wholeheartedly to my question, I have to say thanks, and muster some kind of response. Forgive me if this is not well written, for I am really tired.

Gerry, I think our ideas are not that far apart. I was a bit vague and sloppy in my question. I didn't dismiss Socialism. Whether accurate or not, I used the term Communism to depict the more extreme version of Socialism.

I think that the extremes of both Capitalism and Communism can't work and effect us in the same way, although by different means. They both suck the humanity out of us. Capitalism does so by pitting man against man, everyone for himself. The race to get ahead or die leads us to treat each other like trash, and in the process lose our humanity. The extreme of Communism turns the individual into property of the state, with little power over his own fate and thought. There again is the loss of humanity.

So, as you said, we are not dealing with pure theory. I think Capitalism has some value in providing the economy with drive. But it has to be checked by socialist measures. Yes, Sweden is a good example. Both Sweden and the US have both capitalist and socialist aspects to their economies, however in a different balance. Too much socialism can lead to economic stagnancy, and too much capitalism can lead to inhumane disparity of wealth and power.

Right now the US is dangerously off balance, tending toward the extreme of Capitalism, but it hasn't always been this way, and it doesn't have to continue this way. We have it within our capacity to turn the tides and push for more socialist measures in our government.

When I wrote that Capitalism has to be controlled by Humanism that is similar to saying that we have to keep controls that are socialist in nature. Humanist thought teaches you to care about the health and welfare of your fellow man, and to value all the talents and concerns that humans have. If humanist thought were stressed as important, just as efficiency and profitability is, I think we can have a society and economy that is more balanced.

They used to teach ethics in business schools. Years ago that part of the curriculum was largely scrapped in universities if I'm not mistaken. We are seeing the results of this. We have lots of big companies that make a lot of money and keep the economy going. I think we need that (you may not agree), but I think we could have that and also have executives who know they don't need or deserve to make 100 times the average wage of their employees, and who see their employees as valuable partners, rather than assets to be exploited or eliminated.

I think it' s more accurate for me to say that I think we need a combination of systems than to just say, there's no system better than Capitalism. I think we need both Capitalism and Socialism to coexist, work together and check each other. You might not agree with that, but I still think that we have a lot of values in common here.

Okay, I'm not expressing myself very well, so I'll stop. yElp, THANK YOU for writing all that you did. I will print it out and read it, as well as the rest of this thread. As you can tell Anarchism isn't in the picture for me. I understand the definition of the term, but not how people can translate that into a practical system, so I look forward to reading what you have to say.

x, as I said it was fodder for discussion 21.Apr.2003 21:06

dave

I think I've already agreed with you, that waving a flag (or marching in protest) is not likely to bring peace. You're apparently assigning the nationalistic beliefs of the right to me based only on the US flag symbol, and I'm sure that will be everyone's initial tendency. My gist is to see if that tendency will wear off over time, to dilute the right's message by answering the confusion with clarification that the writers of our constitution put plenty of support in there for protest as well, that those principles are represented by the same flag, and that the right is hypocritical to claim the flag doesn't represent those, too (though now YOU are claiming it doesn't).

You equated patriotism and nationalism, not me. I clearly stated that I considered it a "flag of principle", and did not consider it to detract from being a "citizen of earth". It may, indeed, be impossible to reclaim that symbol, to have it represent the now often forgotten "other" principles upon which the US was founded, especially when songs like "The Star Spangled Banner" apparently glorify war in its name, but I guess I'd like to at least see us give it a try before giving up--even if just to see the right go bonkers when all of their left-leaning neighbors start flying what they considered their personal club emblem. (After all, it's on our buses and trains anyway, where most conservatives will never see it.)

As for focus: I am absolutely NOT saying that people should "avoid talking about the underlying geopolitical or economic issues which are driving America's war crusade". I agree that, long term, we need to figure out how this happened and address it, but the most important (short term) goal is to stop it. The longer Bush keeps spreading war, and/or the longer he stays in office, the tougher it's going to be to even reach that short term goal, and the more likely that outside forces will act against our country as a whole to stop him. I have not yet seen a proposed solution which has much chance at all of achieving the short term goal with realistic resources, except the obvious "get someone else elected in 2004". The infrastructure is already in place, and a significant portion of the needed support is already present, to achieve that goal. I believe that more radical approaches are going to get far less support, far less resources.

Even long term, re-forming our entire governmental and/or economic system might be just a little bit of overkill. It seems to me this is primarily Bush taking a bunch of capitalist idealogues who had a plan (PNAC) all set to go, assigning them to un-elected government positions, and running with it before most people had a clue as to what was going on. "If only we could just give everyone a greed lobotomy" isn't a realistic solution. Maybe there's are evolutionary solutions--like adding a few more checks and balances to the system--or maybe not.

Incidentally, I don't think ANYBODY these days believes that pure capitalism does the trick. Even presidents (including Bush) often tout volunteerism and/or contributions, all of which are fairly antithetical to pure capitalism.

In any case, I'm enjoying the discussion.

x and others 21.Apr.2003 21:17

heimdallr

First of all, I very much like the reasoned, balanced tone of most of this discussion, so I found x's somewhat more vitriolic and hyperbolic tone to be a bit unwelcome, but that's just my own sensibilities; pay them as much or as litte mind as you like.

What I would ask x to consider is that the 'Radical' actions that have occurred thus far don't appear to have been much more effective than the 'Liberal' protests. I would propose that the reason for the failure of 'The Peace Movement' in the case of Iraq is less that it was insufficiently near a particular end of some moderate-radical spectrum than that both approaches were reactionary in nature and failed to produce an appropriately nuanced analysis of the situation and a proposed alternative.

Dave, perhaps you should be a bit more careful with your pronouns. Your focus may not be 'the machine,' but personally that is very much my focus. America's wars are a product of a violent and expansionist complex of political, cultural, and socioeconomic forces, and I personally don't see how it's possible to "promote peace" without confronting these forces. I think you'll find that even the most ardent supporters of foreign military intervention will agree with the statement "peace is better than war." Any useful opposition to such interventions must proceed from that contention to an analysis of why war is occurring instead of peace and what can be done to alter that circumstance. To me, our government's tendency toward an aggressive, violent foreign policy appears inextricably linked to our expansionist and exploitative economic system as well as to the cultural influence of religious ideas that emphasize absolutist, categorical ethical thinking over teleological evaluation of an action's justice or injustice, among other things. Simply objecting every time these forces produce government actions which you or I or 'We' do not support without challenging the roots of those actions seems perpetually doomed to failure. I don't much care for the standard Marxist polemics about Capitalism and Imperialism, but they are right in that wars are a product of internal forces within the belligerent societies and can only be countered by countering these forces. Maybe Anarchism is the answer, maybe not, but the metaphor of treating a symptom rather than the disease is particularly apt here; you aren't going to stop wars from happening no matter how frequently and strenuously you assert that war is bad unless this assertion is accompanied by a critique of the system(s) creating war and a proposal for an alternative.

long term solutions 21.Apr.2003 23:50

dave

In part as a response to heimdallr (who I'm guessing probably had not read my post prior):

I personally think that the real root of the problem here is religious, or should I say, religion. As long as life-and-death judgements are being based primarily on some abstract notion of Good and Evil, primarily derived from books writen thousands of years ago, and about what people think God is telling them or whether a certain person is being guided by God, I personally think we might as well forget about trying to fix any long-term problems. We are still running the world like the Salem witch trials.

If we get anyone in office who is not talking about "axis of evil", "evil-doers", "faith-based initiatives", "crusades", or saying prayers in his speeches, we will have made a huge move in the right direction. Unfortunately, based on polls I've seen, I'm guessing that more people "think religiously" (like Bush) than with secular logic, and that that same majority saw Clinton's dalliances with Monica (and subsequent coverup) as the warning signs of "not enough religion". Governor Bush demonstrated, with his 130+ executions, how confident he is in discerning Good from Evil, and he has carried that confidence right into the presidency. And it REALLY gets scary when you consider "rapture theory" a la the "Left Behind" novels. For all we know, George thinks he's about to be whisked off to heaven any day now, so why should he even care about the state of the world he "leaves behind" for the godless heathens?

If one thinks that it's tough convincing people that Bush might not be such a great president, just try to convince all those people to adopt a new framework for reasoning about the world, one which relies less on their life-long faith. That's why just getting Bush out is good enough for me for now. I'm willing to hope the Clinton effect has died down a bit, people have seen what too much religious fervor can do, and no sane person would have done what Bush is doing, even with exactly the same government and economic system in place. (I keep waiting for him to go from talking about "the terrorists" to talking about "the strawberries".) That doesn't mean I wouldn't mind seeing formal protections against this happening again.

For those that want to blame "capitalism", here's a definition I found on a quick web search: "Economic system characterized by the following: private property ownership exists; individuals and companies are allowed to compete for their own economic gain; and free market forces determine the prices of goods and services. Such a system is based on the premise of separating the state and business activities. Capitalists believe that markets are efficient and should thus function without interference, and the role of the state is to regulate and protect. "

 http://www.investorwords.com/cgi-bin/getword.cgi?713

Pre-emptive war is not protection, shipping massive supplies and people halfway around the globe is definitely interference, and what can I say about "separating government and business activities"? According to this definition, if Bush was a capitalist, he might not be so bad!

Enough of the debating society! 22.Apr.2003 00:17

Real Politicker

Enough with debating capitalism or anarchy and all this mental-masterbatory exhibitionism. Bush may get re-elected in 2004! As Watchman said, let's get in the real game. Now's the time to seize the seat of the established player—-the Democratic party. It's reeling, punchy from the haymakers, right crosses, and fancy footwork of the Wolfowitzes and Karl Roves and their Pax Americana right off the neo-Nazi script of the New American Century Project. The Danziger cartoon in Sunday's Oregonian of the Cheney/Wolfowitz/Rove cabal deciding to hold off invading Syria until the 2004 election campaign ain't far wrong. Unless we move from a peace movement to a piece of the action and take back the Democratic party.
You gotta beat Bush with somebody and it's not going to be by opting out, but by moving off the streets and quitting the debating societies and showing up at the regular meetings of the Multnomah County Democratic committee meetings——and in numbers. Regularly. Because that's how you infiltrate and take over. You don't like the local party candidates? Then come up with a slate you like and get them on the ballot by sheer numbers. For example, it looks like Vera's not going to run. Numbers in those unofficial caucuses can nominate someone you like. (What's that kid who ran against Vera doing these days?)
Do an end run around the party regulars who seem as frightened and full of ennui at the bottom of the org as Nancy Pelosi at the top. Locally, they've not even been smart enough to show presence at any of the big demonstrations by passing out the new "Kick 'em Out" bumper stickers or lit on how to register. Talk about missed opportunities obvious to any campaign veterans! (Offer to do it for them at the next demonstrations or any sizable political meeting. You scratch their back, they gotta scratch yours.)
You don't like the Congressional presidential wannabes who caved to Bush's "new-order" bund and voted to attack Iraq (think Kerry, Daschle, et al.)? Then infiltrate the local machine by numbers to nominate someone you like for the primaries. The Rep from Ohio or the Guv from Vermont. Or whoever. Stay in he machine so that when the local Democrats pick who gets to be a delegate to the 2004 presidential convention, they've got to pick some of us. Angry that those Bush-buddy made voting machines may be used and steal the next election not only in Florida but every other big electoral-college state? Then make a lot of noise about them before they're used in 2004. If Freedom Riders of the 1960s made sure people got to vote in the South, go to Florida in November 2004 in numbers like those folks to make sure Jeb's people don't steal another election..
Nihilism and debating societies are what guys like Hitler and Stalin and Cheney love. But They go to pieces when they see the opposition party, infused with toughness, new blood, rolling up its sleeves. Invade the party apparatus now, guys! We only got 18 months.

Just a comment 22.Apr.2003 07:28

to real politiker

Support the democratic party? This is a clueless ramble. There are real alternatives that can actually work. There is a whole progressive world out there. And you're asking the world to settle for the democratic party? They don't represent us. They are not working for progressive change. The clinton administration did more to dismantle progressive change than the republicans could have done int heir wildest dreams. And they did it because people like real politiker were too lacking in imagination to do support real change. Stop supporting this!

reply 22.Apr.2003 11:12

deva

Various Quotes from the long discussion of many comments:

As for anarchism, and at the risk of incurring the wrath of tons of Indymedia readers, I personally agree that it's not a viable alternative at this point in history.

As you can tell Anarchism isn't in the picture for me. I understand the definition of the term, but not how people can translate that into a practical system, so I look forward to reading what you have to say.

What I would ask x to consider is that the 'Radical' actions that have occurred thus far don't appear to have been much more effective than the 'Liberal' protests.

* * * * * * * * *

You are reading and posting to an example of anarchist principles put into action and form. Indymedia has become a global network of over 110 autonomous media centers. In just 3 years this has happened without any central governing body, without a hierarchical structure and with very little money and no profit motive.

If indymedia did not exist and we all sat together and I said that using anarchist principles we could have a worldwide global network of media centers in just 3 years that could and would be world force for justice, you would likely say that was a nice idealistic idea but could not happen. Well it has.

Indymedia is an example of radical action, and it is having a global impact and it is growing monthly.

There are radical expressions on many fronts worldwide. Radicals have vision, and are manifesting those visions into daily reality.

Anarchy, war and translation 22.Apr.2003 13:47

Michaelb mbthink@hotmail.com

I dissagree with the assertion that there are TWO kinds of anarchists. I've met a great number of anarchists that lean twards one tendancy or another- for example queer anarchists, feminist anarchists, pacifist anarchists, municipalists, animal rights/ecodefence, DIY, and yeah socialists. I'd say there are probably more folks that ascribe to independant strains than there are adhierents of any one. It's possible to see this when an indyposter of any one strain takes prominance others camps challenge thier ideas. This debate is for the most part a concentual process and vital to how we understand history.
(Is there a better word?)

The trouble is there hasn't been an anarchist revolution in this country. If you travel the states you'll see a great many leaders in social justice movements across the states. Thier tactics often mimic the authoritarians from outside the movement. Even among "radicals" this is so. Many anarchists I've spoken to believe that change comes from the inside out- consequentually we're prone to misstrust those we see as not living the values they ascribe to. This challenge to ourselves and others seems fundamental to making social justice ideas the reality of tommorrow.
What I don't understand is the need to confine tactics within the context from which they came. For example a previous poster cited communist, and facists successfull attempts at seizing power as characteristic of how anarchists would behave in a similar situation. The surest way to insult an anarchist is to tell them how they'd govern. We do not seek to govern others. This is precisly why there hasn't been an anarchist revolution in this country. If you say that anyone who takes a revolutionary stand against this government is no better than a facist I'd say you activly support the genocide wreaked by the US government. And how many people wouldn't enjoy what measure of freedom they do today without the gun and the moltov?
Is revolution neccisary? I'd say that even your "founders" new that when a government no longer represents the will of the people it is the right, nay the duty of those people to rise up and cast it down. When a person tells me that I souldn't stand for revolution I say, "Does this government represent you?" this is the litmus by which I measure my associatons.
From here to there:
Do Anarchists have a program to stop this government and it's imperialism? I'd say that across tendancies there is a broad measure of support for a tactic or program known as the dual strategy. What is the dual strategy and how can do all that? Well, the dual stategy rests on the assertion that it's difficult to govern people who are capable of governing themselves. The us government gains it's power from it's relationship with capitalist industry. If the people were to take back the methods of production they would then be capable of abolishing the state and creating localized networks of community control. As it is our relationship with governent is rather oppisite- It tells us what to buy, how to protest, how we can work, in sort this system allows the minority that own this country to govern the many. Thierby defining our culture. The dual strategy is a two pronged attack against the aformentioned mechanisms of state control. It relys on coordination. These dual strategies should be employed simultainiously to avoid suppression by the government. Second, a program of guerrilla war- clandestine action against the state and it's material network of control. It'd be great If the police, army, and national guard were too busy dealing with a civil war to stop us as we gain control of the methods of production.

Now- some personal thoughts on how to get there with the least amount of bloodshed.

BOYCOTT INDUSTRY!!! One obsticle many workers face in organizing is that the corperation they struggle against is so globalized and maintains so many consumers it is difficult to sieze it's material base. For example there's a SYSCO chemical plant in texas that produces poly vinyl chloride. Poly Vinyl Chloride is a toxic substance that melts bones. The american pvc manufacturers association conspired with the european pvc manufacturers association to suppress studies they had done illigally on thier own workers documenting the crippling effects of exposures. Thier bones would melt thier familys got cancer and everyone they know was dying. Thier town had little else in the way of employment. Thier union would strike but thier corperation was globalized and maintained such material, and governmental resources that it was able to install non-union workers and ship in raw materials to process at a LOSS! (see bill moyers report toxic lies)
If we can weaken US based industries to the extant where they are able to be siezed or replaced by localized sustainably ran worker owned collectives our program might have a chance.

Create and support localized, sustianably operated, methods of production. A HUNDRED THOUSAND SMALL ORGANIC FARMS CAN FEED THE WORLD! So much of our labor is lost to beurocracy that people don't have time to even raise and know thier children. If the burden of operating organization is distributed equitably more people have more time to experience the fruits of thier work. Organizing in in such a manner also makes possible an ARMY OF MINDS approach to problem solving. I've expierenced collective problem solving first hand- and I swear by it! I find it so invigorating to work with a group of equals working to build on, challenge, and feed off each others ideas, than in an inviroment where I can be assured that my ideas will be exploited by rigid thinkers intent only to profit at my loss.

Support anarchy! Strong individuals make strong communities!

Support revolution! If we don't stop this government who will?


For a list of local worker collectives try reading Anti Capitalist Action's Little Beruit.

For a list of free or low cost collective workshops check out PDX FREESKOOL contact info is in little beruit

To get involved in an anarchist community support network email a working collective at

PDX BREWBLOC (brewing) at  pdxbrewbloc@lists.riseup.net

Anarchist Cooking and Baking Collective at  pdxacbc@lists.riseup.net

Anarchist Carpentry Collective (temporary email)
 mbthink@hotmail.com

Coming soon! Anarchist Gardening and Gleaning Collective
 mbthink@hotmail.com

503-774-9253
Anarchy, war and translation
Anarchy, war and translation