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imperialism & war | political theory m19 2006

Protest Analysis

An interesting comparison btwn the 'peaceful' protests of the weekend in the US and the student reaction to proposed labor legislation in France.
The main idea behind this commentary is that with bold action comes bold results. Thus, if our war actions appeared more committed, elected officials would be forced to respond congruently.

First, I want to recognize all the hard work that organizers, around the US had done on the protests last weekend. In particular, Portland was likely the largest action in the US and one of the largest in the World. That could not have happened without some awesome organizing. So, job well done.

However, the reaction by our elected officials was notably absent. Bush simply said we're staying until about 2009. ( link to www.nytimes.com)
I have not seen public officials saying, "you now, I think those folks out in the street are right about this situation." While I adamantly believe marches are worth the effort, I feel its worth drawing attention to the actions in France right now.

Discrediting my above idea somewhat, are the recent indictments of alleged animal/env sabateurs. These direct actions created a reactionary witch-hunt, rather than a public policy self-criticism by government officials. However, they all lacked mass action and mass support. Similarly, the media and officials were silent on the occupations yesterday of Wyden, Smith's, and DeFazio's offices. Again, these were small, isolated actions that were too easy to ignore. Do not misunderstand me though; those folks are super dedicated and I have nothing but the upmost respect. This article is about asking others to follow in their footsteps.

Quite different, the French government is currently considering making some labor laws relating to students a lot more business friendly. Essentially, the students said no with the solidarity of leftists, unionists, and others. They occupied buildings for days, marched in the street, and did not hesitate to clash with the police. Now, the French Prime Minister is seriously considering rejecting the proposed labor reforms. ( link to www.nytimes.com

Think about this, it is a radical departure, both in action and in result, than anything that occurs in the U.S. The French protests are not perfect, but should be looked to as effective. They are bolder, and the results are as well. After Sunday, Portland could really pick up steam. This is an amazing opportunity to build a stronger anti-war movement, so let's not get smothered by attacks on eachother, and instead build support for bolder and more radical actions.
I mostly agree, BUT 21.Mar.2006 21:42

Marik marik@aracnet.com

I mostly agree with Bloc 9 in their assertion that to build a powerful anti-war movement we need militant and radical actions, and to be able to successfully pull this off, we need support for those actions. I also think it's very important to understand why the bourgeois state grants concessions at all.

We should look at the French example, but understand that they are much further down the path.. We are far from seeing riots all over the country or calls from the trade unions for a general strike. The state of the working class in France is directly threatening bourgeois rule. It is very possible that France will undergo revolution..it is a question of whether or not the people of France accept the ruling class' concession to cease with the labor reform. But why should they, or us, for that matter?

The point I'm trying to make here is that the ruling elite of our 'own' country won't bother themselves with our protesting until they think we are truly a threat to their rule. This is what drives them to take political action. I think this idea applies to your above statement about the 'Green Scare' - these activists, who are typically anti-capitalist militant radicals, are a growing threat. What they lack in numbers, they make up for with militance, understanding and leadership. Such groups inevitably lead to bigger numbers. So they are trying to stop them. Of course clamping down like that will have it's own radicalizing effects on the rest of us.

I agree we need more radical actions, but I would add that we need radical actions based on united anti-imperialism. Imperialism is the system we all toil under, it is this, and the resulting ruling class, that is to blame for the atrocities. It is this system of Imperialism that we should fight and rally support against. When we do this, when we create an anti-war movement that threatens their precious system, we will have the capability to win reforms from these assholes. They will literally be throwing them at us to let them stay in power.

Bread and Circuses 24.Mar.2006 22:11

Druid paladin_of_the_west@ fastmail.net

As long as the yuppies get to keep their SUV/minivans and eat at McDonalds nothing will ever change. Comfort is the enemy of revolution. The people will never rise as long as they are comfortable. Paying a little extra for gas only makes them bitch a bit more. They still go on vacation, buy and consume and consume some more, maybe "recycle" a few cans and then show up at the "peace march" to feel good about themselves. I went to our local protest (missed the march because of work) and listened to the same ol same ol leftist/progressive dogma. All it amounts to is "vote the bums out." I would estimate 70% of the audience were gray-haired ex-hippies with peace signs and all of them had animal slaves on leashes. The animals sniffed each other and the ex-hippies talked and laughed. That's all that ever happens. The young people I saw seemed confused. I heard some of them say "what's the point" and "democrat or republican, no difference," etc. I agree. There is only a sense of stagnant pseudo-anger, not even inertia. No movement at all. People just shook hands or hugged friends and then went home. The whole downtown area was clogged with gas-guzzlers. The oligarchy that rules this "country" feeds them AMERICAN IDOL and Nascar and they are satisfied. Even the lefties get PBS. Rome burns and no one smells the smoke.