Forwarded from Anthony (reply to Jack Smith)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Nov 17 11:59:19 MST 2000

Hi Lou:

In reply to Jack regarding Colombia/Vietnam analogy.

I agree with Jack when he writes,

" In its generality, the similarities are too obvious to ignore. Deploying
the analogy between Columbia today and Vietnam yesterday by emphasizing the
general similarities is a legitimate and useful tactic of organizing and

However I think that there is a difference between agitation and
propaganda. By propaganda, I mean education.

At the level of rining a warning bell - the analagoy between Colombia and
Vietnam is useful.

It is also useful when it comes to bringing people out onto the streets to

Part of the reason that it is useful is that it allows for unity in action
between people with very different political agendas: they tiny number of
activists who would like to aid in the victory of social - or socialist -
revolution in Colombia, with the much larger number of people who just
don't want to see US troops killed in some foreign country they don't

This kind of unity in action was key to the mass movement against the war
in Vietnam - especially the sector led by the SWP around the slogan "Out Now".

However, it has its drawbacks. If propaganda to educate those "masses"
about the real nature of the struggle does not take place - than the
aftermath will be confusion among the newly recruited activists.

In other words, what if there is a US intervention - and the United States
pulls out after a few years of bloddy, destructive, inconclusive war.

What will the activists in the United States have learned? Will they go
home and forget politics - as so many did in the 1970's?

Will they engage in faction fights in the Workers World  Party - turning it
into a repittion of the SWP of the 1970's? (I say this because the WWP
seems to be the remnant of the left best positioned to lead - or try to
lead - a large protest coalition.)

I am not arguing against using the Vietnam symbolism - I am for combining
agitiation which uses that symbolism - with propaganda that educates the
most serious activists so that they can stay the course and become


Louis Proyect
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